Type-changing effects

Type-changing effects are those effects that change an object’s card type, subtype or supertype. This can happen in two fashions: either the effect specifies that the object retains the prior card type, subtype or supertype; or the effect completely replaces the old type, subtype or supertype with a new one.

Characteristics not referred to in the effect description remain unchanged.

Effects that keep the type

When a type-changing effect allows the affected object to keep its original type, subtype or supertype, it uses one of the following templates:

  • "becomes <some type> in addition to its other types."
  • "becomes <some type>. It's still a <old type>."
  • "becomes an artifact creature."

Note that, regardless of the <old type> specified in the second template and the very specific verbiage of the third, the permanent will keep all of its previous types, subtypes and supertypes.

Example. I have an Attended Knight in my graveyard and I reanimate it with Rise from the Grave. Its subtype becomes "Human Zombie Knight" and its color becomes white and black because Rise from the Grave specifies "in addition to".

Example. I target a Mountain with Skarrg Guildmage's animation ability, that makes it into an Elemental creature, but specifies that "it's still a land", therefore Mountain will be a "Land Creature - Mountain Elemental". Please note that "Elemental" is the subtype associated to the "creature" type, and "Mountain" is the subtype associated to the "land" type.

If I activate the same ability targeting a Darksteel Citadel, it will become an "Artifact Land Creature - Elemental" with indestructible.

Example. I control a Flagstones of Trokair and a Hinterland Harbor. I use them to cast Prismatic Omen. Now both the lands are "Land - Plains Island Swamp Mountain Forest", but acquiring the basic land subtypes does not make them lands with a Basic supertype. Moreover, Flagstones of Trokair is still Legendary.

Becoming an artifact creature

Some effects state that an object becomes an "artifact creature"; these effects allow the object to retain all its previous types and supertypes . This is an exception to the general rule about adding a type: specifying that the object keeps its previous type or subtype is not needed, since it does by definition. The reason for this is that artifacts that animates into artifact creatures are very common since Alpha, so the rules accommodate this succinct template for them.

Example. Activating Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas's second ability targeting a Bident of Thassa transforms the type line of the Bident into "Legendary Enchantment Artifact Creature", even though the ability does not specify anything about the Bident of Thassa retaining its original types. The Bident does not lose its abilities, since a type-changing effect does not mess up with the card text (with a single exception that we'll see in a while).

Replacing type, subtype, or supertype

Some effects completely replace the previous types an object had. In these cases, the text of the effect says that the permanent "becomes <some type>" or "is <some type>", and it does not specify that the effect adds a new type or keeps the previous one.

Example. I cast Turn to Frog on Ajani's Pridemate: the Cat Soldier becomes "Creature - Frog" (and it also becomes blue, loses all its abilities and its power and toughness are set to 1/1).

Example. Conspiracy resolves and I choose to name "Weird". The effect of Conspiracy does not affect only permanents, but cards in other game zones as well: my Figure of Destiny will be put on the stack as a Weird creature spell.

In the following turn, I activate Figure of Destiny's first ability: the effect of this ability will overwrite Conspiracy's effect, and the Figure of Destiny will become a "Creature - Kithkin Spirit".

Example. I control Glory Seeker and Intrepid Hero. A Leyline of Singularity enters the battlefield. Both creatures are now "Legendary Creature - Human Soldier".

Changing to a basic land type

Changing a land's type to one of the five basic land types[1] without specifying "in addition to its other types" comes with additional rules baggage. The land will:

  • gain the intrinsic mana ability linked to the basic land type it becomes;
  • lose its previous land subtypes, which means it will also lose the intrinsic mana ability linked to any basic land type it had;
  • lose all abilities generated by its text and by copy effects.

Any other card types (such as artifact or creature) or supertypes (such as basic or legendary) the land may have are kept.

Example. I control a Celestial Colonnade and my opponent enchants it with Convincing Mirage, choosing "Forest". The Colonnade keeps its name, gains the "Forest" subtype (but not the "Basic" supertype) and its text box will be overwritten with "Tap.gif: Add Manag.gif".

The Colonnade will not be able to animate itself, it will only tap for Green mana, and it will still be a legal target for a Tectonic Edge.

Example. I activate Mizzium Transreliquat's second ability targeting a Darksteel Citadel: it becomes an "Artifact Land" named Darksteel Citadel with indestructible, "Tap.gif: Add Mana1.gif." and "Mana1.gifManau.gifManar.gif: Mizzium Transreliquat becomes a copy of target artifact and gains this ability."

Blood Moon enters the battlefield: as Mizzium Transreliquat is currently a non-basic land, Blood Moon will turn it into a Mountain, that will strip it of any abilities generated by its copy effect, but it will not touch it's card types. Mizzium Transreliquat is now an "Artifact Land - Mountain" with "Tap.gif: Add Manar.gif." and no other ability.

Note that only the abilitites generated by the text of the land or by copy effects will be lost; if something else gives an ability to the land, that ability will stay, regardless of when the type-changing effect has been generated.

Example. My Celestial Colonnade is enchanted with Leafdrake Roost and my opponent casts a Magus of the Moon. The Colonnade will gain the "Mountain" subtype, and it will have both the ability to produce Manar.gif and the ability to create a creature token.

Copy effects and type-changing effects

In the end, let's make a brief mention about the interaction between copy effects and type-changing effects. As we know, copy effects will only take into account the original object's copiable values, that can be effected only by other copy effects or "enter the battlefield" replacement effects. All remaining effects, including type-changing effects are not copied.

Example. The only creature on the battlefield is Stormbreath Dragon, and I cast Evil Twin. In response to Evil Twin, my opponent (who has not read this book) casts Turn on Stormbreath Dragon, turning it into a 0/1 red Weird. Nonetheless, Evil Twin becomes a shiny copy of Stormbreath Dragon, ignoring Turn's effect.

This is particularly notable when someone tries to copy an artifact or a land that has been animated, such as a Chimeric Staff and Mutavault: the copy will enter the battlefield as a non-animated copy, as the effect that turns it into a creature will not be copied.

Example. If Clone enters the battlefield when Chimeric Staff is a creature, it can become a copy of Chimeric Staff, but it will not enter the battlefield as a creature, even though the Staff is currently an "Artifact Creature - Construct". Clone simply becomes a copy of the non-animated Chimeric Staff artifact, with the ability to become an "Artifact Creature - Construct". In other words, it copies only the original characteristics of the object.

  1. Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest